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This article is from the WebMD News Archive

Concern over children's mental health

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Sheena Meredith

5th July 2013 -- Almost a third of children in the UK have considered or attempted suicide by the time they are 16, according to a new survey.

The new child mental health charity MindFull estimates that three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health problem.

Survey results

A YouGov survey of 2,090 young adults about their experiences when they were children for MindFull found:

  • The main reasons why children felt down were stress at school, worrying about their future and not feeling they are good enough
  • 12% of young people felt they were a failure nearly every day
  • 29% had self-harmed because they felt down

52% of those who had signs of depression in childhood felt let down by mental health support. On average, of those who talked to more than one person, children spoke to 22 people before getting help

  • 47% of young people with depression did not get the help they wanted
  • 39% found it hard to leave the house because they felt down
  • 18% had felt constantly on edge in the last two weeks
  • 38% of those who had showed signs of depression as children said they had run away from home
  • 24% of those with a mental health problem said their school or work life was affected every day
  • 52% of those with a mental health problem didn't speak out due to embarrassment

Children 'let down'

In a statement, MindFull CEO Emma-Jane Cross says: "Too many children who try to speak out about the way they're feeling are being let down or simply ignored. It's unacceptable that so many are having to resort to harming themselves on purpose in order to cope, or worse still are thinking about ending their own lives. Early intervention is proven to help prevent adult mental health problems, so swift action must be taken now if we are to avoid a legacy of serious long-term mental illness."

The charity is part of the same group, BB, behind the charity BeatBullying.

MindFull is offering 11 to 17-year-olds immediate access to free online counselling with mental health professionals. It also plans to work with schools and young people on coping with mental health issues.

Clinical psychologist and president of the BB group, Professor Tanya Byron, says in a statement: "Children and young people are clearly not getting the help they need, that’s why this new online support from MindFull is so important. Teenagers naturally look to the internet as a source of information and advice, so that’s where we need to be in order to help the hundreds of thousands of young people who are currently getting no support."

Reviewed on July 05, 2013

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